Hyacinth House

Album: LA Woman (1971)
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  • Hyacinthus was a young love of the Greek God Apollo. Apollo accidentally killed him, and from his blood sprang the hyacinth, a plant with a fragrant cluster of flowers.
  • The line, "I see the bathroom is clear" could refer to the bathroom in the studio where the song "L.A. Woman" was recorded. At the time, Jim Morrison insisted on recording the vocal track remotely from the bathroom rather than in the studio with the rest of the band. >>
    Suggestion credit:
    Sam - Lincoln, NE
  • The song was written at guitarist Robby Krieger's house, which inspired some of Morrison's lyrics with its flowers (hyacinths) and cats ("lions").
  • According to Uncut magazine September 2011 the line, "I see the bathroom is clear," was literal. Morrison's friend Babe Hill emerged from the bathroom just as he was writing that verse.

Comments: 43

  • Tnt from KcPaul Tinch: "Hyacinth": Hyacinths are typical flowers in a funeral arrangement. "Jack of Hearts": A common symbol used for charisma. 'Why did you throw the Jack of Hearts away? It was the only card in the deck I had left to play.' He had nothing of substance left. "I need a brand new friend, the end.": Do we really need to say anything about this line? The theme that opens their first album and closes the last? You don't see the connection? It might be a metaphorical suicide, but one nevertheless. I'm not pretty sure, I'm certain you've got it completely wrong. John Densmore seems to have a pretty good handle on most things about that time. Trust his insights.
  • Paul TinchBorn in 65 and a child of the 70s, of course the Doors at the top of my favorites. Always loved the song, but took it for its mood, it's pressing paranoia, and just good song craft, without really giving it thought to its core meaning. It wasn't until my daughter (8 or 9 or 10 at the time? Don't we all try to influence our children with our generation's music) asked me, "Daddy, what does this song mean?" (And it all made sense once the question was asked), and I replied, "Well, The Hyacinth House is the 60s counter-culture, and the lion is God." I explained, previous generations had been based on Judeo-Christian traditions and values and one's worth was measured on one's deeds performed for the satisfaction and glorification of God. The 60s counter-culture proposed a new meaning to life where one lived for the day and pursued one's goals for one's own satisfaction, not for God's. So the song is an observer looking at the counter-culture with a confussed curiosity as to their valuse and behavior (what are they doing in Hyacinth House?), and wondering what they are doing to glorify God as past generations have? (To please the Lion this day)..so throw out all the Greek mythology, that's not what it is about...I'm pretty sure I've got this one right.
  • Big Daddy Raz from FloridaThe doors are perhaps the greatest quintessential American Blues Rock back that ever existed. Why any one would not like their body of work, is a complete ignorant DA. Listen to Peace Frog and Crawling King Snake, then finish with Indian Summer, mix in Planet Caravan from Sabbath and your in 70's rock Heaven. Stay frosty my friends and remember Jim lives forever and Ozzy is GOD> We have constructed pyramids in honor of our escaping...............JM
  • Dee from DetroitA few years ago actress Charlotte Stewart made public a video she took of Jim driving a car while she filmed him, while she sat in the passenger seat. Jim looked happy. She also made public that she had a fling with him while the L.A. Woman album was recorded. 1 day while recording the album, he walked into the shop she worked at. He came back later and asked if she wanted to do something. He waited for her to close up the store and they went out. He would come to the shop almost everyday after leaving the recording studio. He let her know he was leave for Paris after the album was over and wasn't looking for anything serious. They travel to a few places to do some site seeing. The line "I need someone, yeah, who doesn't need me." I think is about Pam. She needed him. He supported her, he took the earning from the Strange Days album and used it to open a fashion boutique for her to run, so she would have her own income. She wasn't able to handle running it and it wasn't a success. She was 19 and he 22 when they got together. "I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me, I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me," might have referred to Charlotte? She was a new friend who worked and ran a shop by herself, something Pam couldn't do. So Charlotte might not have needed to ask Jim for money, like Pam did. The line "I see the bathroom is clear," might refer to the difference between Charlotte's bathroom and Pam's. Many sources say Pam supposedly used heroin. If she did she might have had drug paraphernalia in her bathroom. As many injected heroin, they would often do it the bathroom, so they would be close to a sink to clean up any blood. Maybe the song is a lament about how it might be nice not to date an addict? Comparing Pam and Charlotte. I think he loved Pam, but with his drinking and her drug problems there might have been stress. They been together for years and although he was seeing Charlotte, he intended to go to Paris to be with Pam. Maybe the song showed the problems in his relationship with Pam? Jack of Hearts meaning in Cartomancy is "signifies an honest young man in love. He is attractive, nice and generous and would like to be kind to you. This card often announces a new intimate friendship. As a lover, the Jack of hearts is often away, but is committed and sincere and would make good marriage material." Maybe Jack of Hearts refers to him?
  • Hk from Planet ZogOne of their best songs but underrated. I don't understand all the nasty remarks I read over and over. Or the sidekicking to fellow artists from the same era like Joplin or Hendrix. Nagging who's the best. Or even degrading Doors music to cocktail psychedelic muzak. How many of you lived through the sixties or early seventies era. I guess not many. No matter of life & death. But it can be an advantage understanding that era and this song in more appropriate way. When LA woman was released I was 11 and didn't understand a rats f..k about it. Later my English teacher explained parts of it. Stating we should make our own thoughts out of it. Again listen and ask what does this song bring to me? Morrison didn't want to be the "entertainer". Neither Hendrix or Joplin. Please keep all nastiness to yourself. Unless you're reddit dwarfmarie
  • Dawnmarie from Salisbury, MaJamie, Jamie, Jamie........ do you really think Jim gave a rats ass about Janis or Jimi liked him? She was one of the worst singers ever who had the fortune of good lyrics and only when she was with Big Brother and the Holding Company. As far as Jimi his guitar playing sounded like my cat got its paw stuck in a door and he definitely couldn't carry a tune if his life depended on it. Stick that in your face and suck it! was that juvenile enough for you?
  • Dawnmarie from Salisbury, MaI think everyone is over thinking this. Yes, Jim was brilliant, but I think this is just a sad song about a man who was clearly not happy with his life. Robby even mentioned on the anniversary dvd about the making of LA Woman that this song was the saddest because Jim was speaking to how his life was going. He was tired of being a horse and pony show for everyone. This was a man who wanted to write poetry and live a life without everyone wanting a piece of him. As far as the bathroom thing, who knows, Jim was a little odd it could have been something he threw into the song that really didn't mean anything. This song is haunting though. It oozes sadness.
  • Andrew from Nj, NjI think it's very obvious what Jim is talking about in this song. He is saying that because of his fame, people follow him around and use him because he's rich and famous. He wants to make friends but everybody knows who he is so they are starstruck. "I need a brand new friend that doesn't follow me" "I need a brand new friend that doesn't use me". Also when he says "I think the bathroom is clear" I'm just guessing that he is talking about going to the bathroom in public without someone recognizing him and asking for an autograph.
  • Ali from Blackpool, United KingdomIm only 16 so im not educated on the whole 'Greek Myth' but i believe that in this song Jim is saying that he needs help. I think he has realised how addicted to alcohol and drugs he actually is and he wants help. Thats why i think he sings 'I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me, I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me'. To me its a very sad song but still one of my favorite doors songs!
  • Ali from Blackpool, United KingdomI'm only 16 so I'm not educated on the whole 'Greek Myth' but I believe that in this song Jim is saying that he needs help. I think he has realized how addicted to alcohol and drugs he actually is and he wants help. That's why I think he sings 'I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me, I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me'. To me its a very sad song but still one of my favorite doors songs!
  • Marie from Durham, United KingdomAnd Rick Boston your comment made me smile your so right those words are so prophetic.
  • Marie from Durham, United KingdomThe comment below is absolute crap! How may i ask was it Rays fault that Rothchild thought LA Woman was cocktail music? Jim and robbie wrote the songs and the music was added by the band TOGETHER. I'm sure if Ray was that bad the rest of the band would have ran a mile from him and he certainly was NOT responsible for Jim's death. I am a massive fan and have been since i was a child and know more than most about The Doors and that comment has made me so angry. :(
  • Andrew from Airdrie, AbThis sound's very far out there, but bare with me, now being a Door's fan I came to question Manzerek's true intent for the band, especially after the release of the soft parade, it's clear to me his influence guided the band in an direction into psychedelic cocktail music, it was awful and not the sound of music they should have focused on, now that being said Ray's influence continued on into the recording of Morrison Hotel, Ray is an excellent musician there is no doubt about that but he played the f--king organ, he didn't write any good lyrics or sing ( well he later tried singing after Jim's death, the album didn't reach North American markets (cause it sucked ball's)). Now getting to this song, it is my belief that this is Jim's way of saying Ray your a f--k. Well the actual Hyacinth House belonged to Ray, blah blah blah something about his cat's no one really cares, now considering the lyric's written by Jim " I need a brand new friend, it doesn't trouble me, I need someone, yeah, who doesn't need me", I believe this is implying that Ray isn't the person Jim once new and I believe Ray led to the ultimate collapse of the door's with his new style of psychedelic cocktail music, Ray caused their long time producer Paul Rothchild to call their style "Cocktail music" before his resignation. look i have been a door's fan sense i started listening to music. a lot of what was said is scarily true and saddening, I love the door's but, f--k Ray Manzerek you were responsible for Jim's death
  • Oldpink from New Castle, InIt's still a decent song in its own right, but I would have to say easily the weakest song on the album.
    Next to "Cars Hiss By My Window" and "Riders on the Storm," this really looks lame.
  • Rahul from Ibiza, SpainPlease this song has comparison to his life with Hyacinth Macaw-Endangered largest species of parrot in the world from South America and his fascination with shaman peyotes . I see the bathroom is clear because these parrots are famous for their baths as it brings you back to life with shock according to shamans. not at all to Hyacinthus of the Greek God Apollo, jack of hearts away is refers to his personal sad love life with his woman and how this is bothering him and he needs a change he is sic to play as jack to his queen of hearts instead him being the king, he is well aware of the road he is heading on is endangering his life.
  • Mel from Venice, CaCall me crazy...but I think the song could be about a male friend of Jim's who wanted to be more than just a friend. In Greek mythology, Hyacinth ends up dying because of the sexual lust of two Greek gods. Perhaps the "lions" in the first verse refers simply to the animal appetite of sexual lust. This hypothetical friend of Jim's "threw the jack of hearts away" when he made it known that he lusted after Morrison. Maybe this hypothetical friend came on to Jim in the bathroom? Maybe this hypothetical friend was a bit of a stalker. Maybe this is why Jim says he needs a friend who doesn't "bother" and "trouble" and "need" and "follow" him. Maybe when he says the "bathroom is clear" it's the same as saying "the coast is clear". In other words, it's safe to go to the bathroom because the stalker/friend is not around. Maybe this is why Jim says he needs a "brand new friend".

    And consider that the song cannot be about celebrity and fans (plural). A celebrity is not going to refer to fans as a "friend" (singular) or even as friends (plural). This is a personal song about a personal relationship with one specific person.
  • Cody from Lorain, OhFIRST OFF - blah, New Rochelle, NY
    how can you say the name Hyacinth has nothing to do with Greek Myth? Hyacinthus was re-born after he was accidentally killed by Apollo, but Apollo wouldn't let Hades take him so he was re-born into a flower (called te Hyacinth)it's not just "a tragic tale" that happened to be behind the flower, Jim was a very smart man who read a lot of poems, &believed in many things.

    Then, if you knew anything about The Doors you would know 90% of the songs are laced with other peoples poems, or other works. in the song "End Of The Night" one whole verse is straight out of a poem someone else wrote. so it's safe to assume that Jim used the Hyacintyh as an actual metaphor, ¬ just because Robbies house was known to have a lot of these flowers. what is he trying to use the Hyacinth for? more than likely he's the only one who really knew, but it is probably about him being re-born into something that will live on.

    but i think even the rest of the band doesn't know the true meaning behind a few of the songs Jim's probably the only person who actually does, because most Doors songs are from poems he wrote himself.
  • Peter from Rockaway, NjHyacinth House seems like Jim Morrison's suicide note, the lines gives his laments for his life and pleasure that its coming to an end. "hyacinth house" appears to symbolize the house of Jim Morrison, likened to the Greek myth, the house of beauty & fame, and the constant need to "feed" or perform for the animals "us". The giving away of the jack of hearts is the loss of his youth, jack of hearts being a playboy, lover,"jack" representing youth not adulthood of a king. The reflection in the mirror was likely literal for inspiration and figuratively in he could see his death was near. The last line is his obsession with Death and his growing eagerness to be with his only remaining compassionate friend, his end.
  • Harold from San Bernadino, CaJamie,Jamie,Jamie--------"out here we is STONED...IMMACULATE!"...remember that.
  • Chloe from St. Louis, Moi think jamie needs to either shut up or cool the ego. im getting a bit sick of the teenager stereotypes, myself.
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaIt's been a long time since I was on this site. Thought I would stop by briefly and read some Doors stuff. You know, I went to a lot of concerts back in those days but never got to see the Doors. Why? Well I lived in Massachusetts in the 60's. The Doors played New Haven Connecticut before they were scheduled to play Boston, Mass. Well we all knew what happened in New Haven. They weren't allowed to enter Mass. The next show was Miami. I don't think I need to explain much more. I would have loved to have seen this band in the very beginning when they played the Whiskey and other places on Sunset Strip but again, in those days, I lived in Massachusetts. Just thought I would stop by.
  • Bob from Calgary, AbIt's true about the Hyancinhths but most were white...... need to remember when the song was
    written..... the Hyancinth house is the White House... now try the lyric...
    "What are they doing in the "White" house to please the lions this day". Morrison was a lot more political then he gets credit for.
  • Joshvall from Huittinen, FinlandThere are two different ways you can look at the lyrics of this song. The first way is very litteral. Because the lines like "I see the bathroom is clear" etc. got inspiration from actual scenes that happened in Jim's life. Even the lions in this song are real, they were some friend's pets. But lines like "why did you throw that Jack of Hearts away? It was the only card in the deck I had left to play", are of course symbolic altough the symbolism isn't very hard to catch.
  • Nady from Adelaide, Australiathankyou Valarie, I couldnt have said it better myself, Jamie you cant call people losers for loving a band, now lighten up:)
  • Valerie from Eureka, CaMy mym my. I just signed onto this site and as a long time Doors fan I am amazed at all the thought put into lyrics of the Hyacinth House. I wasn't with the band when they wrote this song. I don't know what the meaning was behind it. I guess the best way to find out is to ask one of the surviving band members. Magazines and newspapers twist things around so much it's difficult to know what was an actual statement or something contrived by the reporter. Oh my a new Doors movie? Hm, who could play Jim? Val Kilmer was great in The Doors. There is no one else who could have played Morrison so well. As Hollywood knows all too well how to destroy something, I wonder how it will destroy a second movie about the Doors.
    While I am writing, I have to add that Jaime from Athens, NY and Eric from Old Bridge NJ appear to be quite young. Hey you guys both wrote some really ugly things in your posts. Eric, stuff like 'go kill yourself' is pretty hardcore and unnecessary. Jaime, you need to tame your ego down a bit. You come across as an angry teenaget trying to 'act adult'. Karma is strong payback.
    Valerie, California
  • Jamie from Athens, NyJesus Tap-Dancing Christ, I hope you guys are all in high school... I registered just so I could talk sh*t to the lot of you (w/ exceptions, of course, I'm sure there have been a few that have posted something above an eighth grade level comment in the past, but not when I stumbled upon this brain-numbing session today). Wow! you can quote a flawed biography! These inane regurgitations are the very reason the man became so disgusted w/ the prospect of being a rock star - b/c so many retards were infusing his words w/ there b.s. misinformation and perceptions. The fact is, an intelligent alcoholic wordsmith of a man most likely died of a heroin overdose that his sexy-turned-psycho-hose-beast junky of a soul mate gave to him. The cat from Finland who can't speak English sounds like less of a douche bag than the rest of you trying to sound like intellectuals by inserting words like "immaculate" where they don't make a turd of sense b/c they heard them used on a spoken-word album. P.S. Jim Morrison's "friends" Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin thought he was an ass, and he did act like one around both of them so they were warranted, and they both had more musical talent than Jim even though I think he was a badass... bisexual. I agree, the best version of Hyacinth House is the acoustic one. You guys are losers. Go smoke some schwag you bought from your older brother, watch "Walk the Line" and pretend it's awesome.
  • Tristan from Philadelphia, PaThis song has a strange effect on me every time I hear it. Like nothing else matters. The accoustic sound of the guitar and bongos perfectly accompany Jims sullen, deep mature voice in this work.
  • Ant from Moorhead, Mnseems the battle between singer and band ego took a rest to define itself in one of my favorite songs
  • Jim from Nokomis, IlI read somewhere (a book written about the band) that the doors were stoned at Rays place and they heard a noise from the bathroom. The "Hyacinth house" way Rays pad, which had an immaculate amount of Hyacith plants in it.
  • John from Kents Store, Va
    I think the "bathroom is clear" stuff was Morrison's ironic way of relieving the heaviness that has been building up in the song. Perhaps it's a way of saying that, "Hey, I'm not a god [neither was Hyacinth]; I need to pee like any human being." The interesting thing is that this verse does not break the song's haunting spell. Even if it is true that there were hyacinths around someone's house or in someone's apartment that he knew, this doesn't mean that the Greek myth didn't serve as an inspiration, conscious or unconscious, for this song. Hyacinth was beloved by Apollo for his beauty and Morrisson has to have been aware of the effect his own looks had on many of his fans. By the same token, did he feel that the adulation these fans bestowed on him was a real threat to his life ("i think that someone is near. I think that someone is following me.") because it aroused the jealousy of the gods?
    Why this song has such a profound effect on so many people including myself may remain a mystery.
    John, Kents Store, Va.
  • Rick from Boston, The Beantown, Magreat song, but the mood is so somber.

    "I see the bathroom is clear.
    I think that someone is near.
    Im sure that someone is following me."

    i'd love to say its a coincidence but me no think so.
  • Dan from ******, CanadaJohn Densmore wrote about this song in "Riders on the Storm" and mentioned the greek mythology reference. Jim was extremely well read, but I don't think he was talking about the legend in this song. I always felt that when he mentions the bathroom being clear, that he was joking to relieve some of the heaviness of emotion in the rest of the song.
  • Brettt from Voodoo Lounge, Txthis was written at Robbie's beach house the lyrics "i see the bathroom is clear, i think that somebody near, im sure someone is following me" was takin from a conversation while the band was stoned about them thinking they saw someone in the bathroom
  • Jordan from Youngstown, NyChief,Hesinki,Finland is right.One of the guitar magazines(cant remember which one)released a whole issua entirely about the doors. one section of the issue was a gigantic interview of robbie krieger. he said that jim used to call his house that he lived in with his girlfriend, the hyacinth house because it was deushed with hyacinths all around the outside. one night at a party jim needed the bathroom andsomebody was in it.finally when the person left he said i see the bathroom is clear. and i guess when he came out he said he felt that someone was around him? i dono thjis dude was messed up. but hell yea new doors movie in 2009 cant wait. Long live the doors.
  • D from Many, Ma>>When you lead your life as he did, an early death is a logical thing to predict.
    - Tanya, Rotterdam, Netherlands<<

    For a contradiction, see Keith Richards
  • Ashley from Moncton, Canada"What are they doing in the Hyacinth House?"
  • Blah from New Rochelle, NyActually hyacinth house (the name hyacinth) has NOTHING to do with any greek myth. There was an interview with Krieger in the rolling stones magazine that explained that the plants littered his apartment. So his apartment was refered to as the hyacinth house. It is just coincidence that there is some tragic tale based on the plant.
  • Tanya from Rotterdam, NetherlandsWhen you lead your life as he did, an early death is a logical thing to predict.
  • Sumner from Paragould, AkJim was kinda creepy about stuff like seeing his own death. In Jamaica in 1969 he claimed to have seen his own death after getting high on some marijuana. He never smoked it again, he was so scared. After Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, two of his good friends, died, he said "Does anyone believe in omens?" and "You're drinking with number three." Jim had a lot of prophetic- and accurate- things to say about his death. However, I don't think we'll ever know what really happened in that Paris hotel.
  • Tanya from Rotterdam, Netherlands"I need a brand new friend who doesn't bother me
    I need a brand new friend who doesn't trouble me
    I need someone and who doesn't need me"
    "Why did you throw the Jack of Hearts away? It was the only card in the deck that I had left to play"
    "I need a brand new friend, the end"
    I always considered "Hyacinth House" a very personal and a very sad song.
  • Chief from Hesinki, Finlandwell, the bathroom is clear coming form:

    Jim was writing this song when on Robby's house. There was their fried in bathroom, when he game out Jim just add line i see the BATHROOM is clear
  • David from Paris, United StatesI just love the ironic "i see the BATHROOM is clear, i think that somebody near, im sure someone is following me" visioning is own death in a bathroom? who know, Jim was about mystery, and this is one more.
  • Niko from Davis, CaThe best version of this song is on Essential Rarities.
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